Syria snubs IAEA

posted at 9:55 am on August 9, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Maybe the Syrian nuclear adventure hasn’t been completely derailed.  According to reports, Damascus has turned away investigators from the IAEA, following up on the destruction of the facility at Al Kibar last September.  Bashar Assad doesn’t want the same level of scrutiny Iran has received, and one has to wonder why:

Syria rejected the IAEA request for a visit late last month, the diplomats said. The visit would have been a follow up to an initial trip by IAEA inspectors in June.

“The Syrians said that a visit at this time was inopportune,” said a senior diplomat, who, like two others agreeing to discuss the issue, demanded anonymity because their information was confidential.

That appeared to leave open the possibility of a later visit. But one of the other diplomats said members of the Syrian mission to the IAEA were spreading the word among other missions that further trips beyond the one in June were unlikely.

If so, that could cripple international efforts to probe U.S. allegations that a site in a remote part of the Syrian desert, which Israel destroyed last year, was a near-finished plutonium-producing reactor built with North Korean help, and that Damascus continues to hide linked facilities.

The investigation had already been difficult enough.  On their initial visit, the IAEA inspectors looked for trace evidence of nuclear work, but no one believes that any radioactive material had yet been delivered.  The inspectors looked for graphite, critical to the cooling design of North Korea’s reactors, but even those elements may not have made it to Al Kibar when the Israelis destroyed the facility.

Four other locations had been identified for inspection when Damascus pulled the plug.  Assad’s government had declared them “off limits” to nuclear inspectors, raising questions about their mission and operation.  The IAEA also wanted to interrogate government officials about relations with Pyongyang and the joint projects the two governments operated together.  Syria doesn’t want those kinds of questions asked, which again should set off red flags.

The US, meanwhile, wants Syria off of the IAEA board while Damascus remains under suspicion.  The Bush administration has circulated a note to other member nations pushing Kazakhstan as the preferred representative from the region, although the Kazakhs themselves are less than enthusiastic about the proposal.  The note rightly calls Syria’s election to the board while under investigation a “mockery” of the IAEA’s mission.

Syria seems determined to act suspiciously.  However, Assad has watched the Iranian example and apparently has decided to follow their playbook.  Thus far, the world has not made Iran pay for its intransigence, and as long as Syria sees no tough consequences for snubbing the IAEA, then they have no incentive to cooperate.


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No big surprise there. Evil can’t stand scrutiny.

TooTall on August 9, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Ed, why did you put a photo of a proboscis monkey in the screencap?

jgapinoy on August 9, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Syria will get the same tough treatment Iran is getting…

Akzed on August 9, 2008 at 10:03 AM

jgapinoy on August 9, 2008 at 10:02 AM

hahaha There is a resemblance!

becki51758 on August 9, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Syria = Evil

robo on August 9, 2008 at 10:07 AM

hahaha There is a resemblance!

becki51758 on August 9, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Hey, I can take it as well as dish it out. Here’s what some people say I look like:
http://free-zg.htnet.hr/cartoons/cccArtOOns/Port/9c03StanLaurel.jpg

jgapinoy on August 9, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Is Syria, perhaps, playing the red herring, to divert attention away from Iran?

OldEnglish on August 9, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Sorry for the OT, Ed!

jgapinoy on August 9, 2008 at 10:15 AM

IAEA=UN=nearly usless.

Johan Klaus on August 9, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Nothing will happen. The current and future strategy is to coddle, protect and finance Islam in hopes that somehow democracy will infest it into becoming a more rational humanity. An dream of those ignorant of Islam.

One day we will all be reminded of the cautionary tale of the girl who found a serpent in the snow and warmed it at her breast. Too late then of course.

BL@KBIRD on August 9, 2008 at 10:32 AM

There are two US aircraft carriers on their way,and
Kuwait has finalized a war plan according to Jerusalem
Post!

canopfor on August 9, 2008 at 10:36 AM

jgapinoy on August 9, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Funny!

Johan Klaus on August 9, 2008 at 10:20 AM

I agree with that 100%.

becki51758 on August 9, 2008 at 10:38 AM

Why has no one seen that the “nuclear facility” in Syria could have been a setup? Both Syria and Iran gained knowledge of Israeli air attack tactics at a very small price.

corona on August 9, 2008 at 10:45 AM

The UN and the IAEA are a complete fraud and farce. They are not worth one penny of the money we pour into that rat hole.

Its time we kick them the hell out. As for Syria, well, it’s past due time for a reckoning.

dogsoldier on August 9, 2008 at 10:46 AM

The inspectors looked for graphite, critical to the cooling design of North Korea’s reactors, but even those elements may not have made it to Al Kibar when the Israelis destroyed the facility.

Ed,

Here is some trivia on the cooling design of graphite reactors.

The use of graphite in a reactor is to moderate the neutrons, reducing their speed in order to make them more likely to have nuclear reactions. Cooling is done by gas flowing through channels in the graphite, with some heat conduction and thermal radiation transfer.

The thermal conduction is only significant in graphite reactors under accident scenarios. Some advanced graphite reactor designs (HT3R, and MHTGR) rely on heat conduction to have a peak temperature that is 200 degrees-C temperature below to point where fuel leaks can occur, even with the reactor intake and exit flows completely blocked for days.

Water reactors use water as both coolant and moderator.

Also, nuclear grade graphite has certain distinguishing properties that are very expensive to produce, only useful in reactors, and restricted by treaties. Loading graphite in the reactor would be one of the last steps before construction.

Finding nuclear-grade graphite at Al Kibar would be clear proof Syria violated its their nonproliferation commitments.

Right_of_Attila on August 9, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Thus far, the world has not made Iran pay for its intransigence, and as long as Syria sees no tough consequences for snubbing the IAEA, then they have no incentive to cooperate.

In fact, they probably see this as a chance to begin a years-long dance of “negotiation” with the EU (and evenutally us) that will lead to all sort of promises of good stuff, with no more than the threat of a stern letter if they don’t comply.

That’ll show’em.

irishspy on August 9, 2008 at 10:54 AM

The UN and the IAEA are a complete fraud and farce. They are not worth one penny of the money we pour into that rat hole.

Well said, dogsoldier.

IAEA hires new inspectors based on their country of origin, to meet nationality quotas. The competence of the organization suffers as a result, even when national or religious loyalties do not interfere.

Right_of_Attila on August 9, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Johan Klaus on August 9, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Nearly useless? I’m stumped, expand that a little.

Oldnuke on August 9, 2008 at 11:40 AM

Obama will want to have atalk with this fellow.

tarpon on August 9, 2008 at 12:02 PM

dubya has been a total WIMP on syria.

we shooda whacked him years ago to retaliate for harriri.

and the un investigation carries on… wutta JOKE.

fdr and truman wooda firebombed assad’s home years ago.

DUBYA STANDS FOR WIMP.

EXCEPT FOR PETRAEUS, we’ve fought with one hand behind ourt back.

Afghanistan lingers: it’s Dubya’s fault.

musharraf twists in the eind: it’s dubya’s fault.

olmert let hizballah off the hook: it’s dubya’s fault.

and so on.

iran is only getting stronger by the day.

W stands for Wimp.

reliapundit on August 9, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Another country in desperate need…. of a good carpet bombing

Viper1 on August 9, 2008 at 12:51 PM

They tried to snub the IAF too, but that didn’t work out so well.

BDavis on August 9, 2008 at 12:54 PM

I think only a moron wouldn’t believe a Syria-North Korea axis here.
Now, why won’t the IAF go bomb Iran while the navies of the West & Kuwait are there to keep Iran from retaliating?

HotAirJosef on August 10, 2008 at 2:25 AM

reliapundit on August 9, 2008 at 12:32 PM

I really think Bush lost his doctrine sometime in 2004… and the world’s been hurtin’ as a result.

HotAirJosef on August 10, 2008 at 2:26 AM